5 Sep 2011

Pacific Forum's stance on Fiji unlikely to change, says academic

4:54 pm on 5 September 2011

An Australian academic believes the Pacific Islands Forum stance on Fiji will not change during this week's leaders summit in Auckland.

Leaders who met in Nadi last week at the interim regime's Engaging With the Pacific meeting, called for Fiji's membership in the Forum to be restored.

Jenny Hayward-Jones, the programme director of the Melanesia Programme at the Lowy Institute, says it will be interesting to see what those leaders say this week.

"The Pacific Island countries have a tradition of telling Frank Bainimarama what he wants to hear, when they're with him, and then coming to the Forum, and under pressure from others perhaps, saying quite different things. So I will be interested to see what the communique comes out with, I suspect it will come out again with a call for Fiji to return to democracy, and at least demonstrate some moves back to democracy."

Jenny Hayward-Jones says she believes the New Zealand Government, as the chair of this year's forum, will be keen to have a non-controversial communique, with broad support from the leaders.